Black Friday traffic in stores crater 52% during pandemic

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Store traffic on Black Friday fell 52.1% from a year ago, with Americans generally avoiding going to malls and queuing to shop online, data shows preliminaries of Sensormatic Solutions.For the six key weeks of this year’s holiday season, retail store traffic is expected to drop 22% to 25% year-over-year, according to an earlier forecast from Sensormatic Solutions.

“We knew about Black Friday [traffic] was going to be down, we just didn’t know how much it was going to be down, “said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic Solutions.” Buyers are spreading their purchases throughout the period. holiday season due to concerns about social distancing and the pandemic. ”

The Covid pandemic has prompted record numbers of consumers to shop online, as retailers place many of their best Christmas deals online and encourage shoppers to shop on the web and then shop at the curb of street. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommended that Americans shop online the day after Thanksgiving.

Many malls looked dark, and parking lots were more empty than full, across much of the country in the wee hours of Friday morning. Some reported a pickup in traffic later in the day, especially in outlet stores and outdoor malls, as some consumers felt more comfortable going out. The warmer weather that covered much of the country also helped.

The typical rush hour for shopping on Black Friday has remained the same this year, reaching around 2 p.m., Sensormatic Solutions said.

On Thanksgiving Day, when many retailers including Walmart and Target closed their stores this year due to the pandemic, traffic fell 94.9% year over year, according to the company. Since the start of the week, traffic is down 45.2% in the United States

“This year’s Black Friday, from a traffic impact perspective, looked a lot like a typical Saturday after Black Friday,” Field said.

Online spending on Black Friday this year jumped 21.6% to a new high, according to data from Adobe Analytics, as consumers increased by $ 9 billion in web purchases the day after. Thanksgiving.

That makes Black Friday 2020 the second-largest online spending day in U.S. history, behind Cyber ​​Monday last year, Adobe said. Cyber ​​Monday is set to become the biggest digital selling day of all time this year, spending between $ 10.8 billion and $ 12.7 billion, which would represent a 15% to 35% growth from to the previous year.

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